Gather ’round moms.
If your life can be described as busy, tiring, and/or overwhelming, then it’ll be worth your time to keep reading.
[Mom of a toddler disclaimer: I need to mention that being a mom for just shy of two years does NOT make me an expert at this whole motherhood thing, that’s for sure. But one thing I do know for sure is that there really are NO experts out there (other than Michelle Dugger, maybe?). I’m proud to say I have managed to learn a thing or two from having this 24-hour, 7-day a week job for a while now.]
Lesson learned and neatly summarized: This alternate universe known as Motherhood is one tough gig.
I know it’s a good day when Jason and I can each complete a full sentence during dinner.
It’s an excellent day when we’re not both ready for bed ourselves when Lucy’s bedroom door is shut for the evening. Jason put it perfectly the other day, “As a parent, even the ‘good days’ are hard.” Sleep has become my BFF. On the rare occasion I am blessed with seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, I find myself leaping out of bed, hearing the same exact song playing in my head… “I’m walking on sunshine, Wooah! And don’t it feel good!”
I’m noticing a group of moms (too often the majority, actually) that are joining what I like to call the “Poor Me Club.” They are the complainers in the bunch, the ones who give all of us moms the reputation of being nags to our husbands and oversensitive b’s.
I hope you are not a member of this ever-popular group, but it’s an easy one to join. Sometimes you find yourself the president without ever having officially agreed to be a member! What exactly is the “Poor Me Club,” you ask? Well, you might be a member if you can identify with at least three of these eight statements…
- You’re exhausted and snippy when things don’t go your way.
- You find yourself complaining to others about anything and everything.
- You’ve given up trying to find the balance and have resigned yourself to the fact that life is busy and you are overwhelmed by it all.
- You are peeved at the lack of control you have over your schedule.
- You’re resentful of those who seem to have it all together.
- You long for simplicity, but you think it’s impossible to achieve thanks to uncontrollable outside expectations put on you and your family.
- You have very little time for your own interests (and you hate that.)
- At the end of the day you are frustrated (and sometimes even resentful) of your husband and your marriage suffers because of it.
Are you this busy, overextended mom who gives and gives, just looking for someone to throw you a friggin’ bone already? If so, you are not alone. In fact, you are one of millions. But I am here to say that being a member of the “Poor Me Club” is not your inevitable fate. The decision whether or not to join is yours.
This club has more costs than benefits. The price you and your family pay for this membership is far more valuable than that dwindling 401k you might (miraculously) still have.
What is it costing you?
HOPE, PEACE, and JOY!
Once you lose these, you can kiss happiness goodbye, sister. At that point, all you want is for others to feel sorry for you. On a very raw emotional level, you long for empathy, compassion and someone else to complain with, really.
Well, I’m here to say this club is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s tempting, for sure. But the pity party is over, ladies. Throw away the cheese that accompanies that cheap whine. Stop bellyaching on Facebook about how hard you have it. Yes, the reasons you ache and moan are legit. I get it.
It’s ugly. It’s repulsive. It’s like showing up to your wedding with your old, grimy, smelly workout clothes and no makeup. It’s the worst you have to offer.
And who suffers?
Your kids, for sure. They’re so smart, they pick up on the negative energy and martyr attitude (often accompanied by sarcasm) faster than Jason picks up the stank of Lucy’s dirty diapers (and THAT’s fast — he’s got a crazy powerful sense of smell).
Your husband, as well. Have you noticed he’s walking on eggshells? He feels an enormous amount of pressure to keep the boat of happiness afloat. (Good luck with that, Dad. The boat’s a-sinkin’!)
And yes, sadly, you. YOU suffer the most. That beautiful, enthusiastic, optimistic, driven woman who dreamed of being a mom, well, she’s faded, frazzled, and in the words of my mom (when I was 13)…she “needs an attitude adjustment.”
Here’s a quick and easy way to kick your membership to the “Poor Me Club” to the curb — and pronto, before more damage is done. Drumroll, please….
GIVE to others what you, in fact, NEED.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
–Henry David Thoreau
Start dolling out heaping amounts of EMPATHY and COMPASSION. Give it away like it’s going out of style.
Yes, empathy is what you’re craving. You just want someone to take a moment to acknowledge your feelings, to give you some credit for all that you do. So stop complaining and do that for the others in your life. Sit down and ask your kids what’s on their minds. Listen to their complaints and be there to help them through their own day-to-day frustrations. Shock your husband by saying something like, “Honey, your week sure seems like it was a rough one. What can I do to help?” (He may fall over, so you might want to have 911 on speed dial.)
When you take the time to walk in the shoes of those you love, your eyes will be magnificently opened to the fact that you’re not the only one who needs some love and understanding. When you start to empathize with others, you will be amazed at how they return the generosity and extend that same gift to you.
You will receive what you’re craving in no time.
How will you show empathy this week?